(PUNCH) Contrary to expectations, a former acting National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, has said that the party will not choose the next President of the Senate through zoning.
Akande, who spoke with some journalists in Ikeja, on Tuesday, explained that zoning was strange to the APC.
A member of the APC’s Board of Trustees, Akande said the party’s constitution did not recognise zoning, adding that zoning was a creation of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
The former governor of Osun State said the leadership of the party shot down the idea of zoning when it was brought up by the party’s current National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
He said, “Zoning is very, very strange to the APC. There is no zoning in our constitution. We don’t want to copy the PDP in whatever we are doing. We have the best of brains and culture among our leadership. We want the best for Nigeria. Because of this, we don’t want to entertain zoning
“It is true that sometime after the general election, the (party’s) national chairman wanted to toy with the idea of zoning and unanimously we said no, we don’t want to zone.”
Describing the PDP as a prodigal party, Akande said one of the institutions through which the ruling party frittered the nation’s revenues was the National Assembly.
He said, “We are taking over from a delinquent (PDP) administration and one of the most prodigal institutions of that administration is the National Assembly. The (former) Central Bank Governor said the recurrent expenditure of the National Assembly was N10bn and that it rose to about N150bn.
“Their personal income is prohibitive and secretive. This created the scramble for the leadership of the legislature and we don’t want our party to be involved in the prodigal nature of the National Assembly.
“In order to tone it down, we need to do a lot of compromises and sacrifices and we need to select from among the leaders who are in the Senate that would be able to control the culture of the Assembly according to the policy of our party.”
The Ila-Orangun-born politician recalled that during the second republic, the President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, hailed from the North just as the Vice-President, Chief Alex Ekwueme hailed from the South-East and the Speaker of the Senate, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezuoke, hailed from the South-East.
He also said that in the current political dispensation, President Goodluck Jonathan is from the South-East while the Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, are from the North.
Akande said, “This can happen. We don’t want to say Christian, Muslim or Ibo or Yoruba. We want to be careful, otherwise, we won’t be able to produce the best. We are trying to select the best man. We don’t want what brought the PDP down (to bring us down).”
When asked if the exclusion of zoning in the selection process would not affect the federal character nature of post sharing among the zones of the country, Akande said no, adding that the exclusion of zoning would be used only for the post of the Senate President.
He said, “We are talking about Senate President. Once we pick the Senate President, others would follow suit and they will now say, since the Senate President is from so and so zone, then the deputy senate president can’t be from there; that he should be from elsewhere. But we must choose the best person first.”